Alumni Q & A: Waldy Diez, Staff Writer at Press of Atlantic City

Waldy Diez is currently a staff writer for Press of Atlantic City. She graduated from Rowan in 2013 with a B.A. in Journalism and a Minor in Spanish and International Studies. She has a M.S. in Broadcast and Digital Journalism from Syracuse University. Follow her on Twitter at @_waldy 

Describe your current job and what you do on a daily basis?
I’m a staff writer on the breaking news/digital team covering Atlantic,Cape May, Cumberland and lower Ocean Counties.

Photo: Erin Grugan

On a daily basis, I rewrite press releases from police and event coordinators, and call the necessary people related to that release, if necessary. If breaking news happens, I’ll go out to the scene, live tweet photos and videos, and try to talk to the Chief, Captain, or whoever is in charge at the scene to figure out what happened.

I also schedule social media for Twitter and Facebook, do push alerts and help figure out how to display the stories on the website to reach the greatest audience possible.

What’s something you love about your job?
I honestly love pretty much everything about my job. I’ve returned to writing and reporter after producing TV for nearly two years, and it’s the best decision I have ever made. It allows me to use almost all of the skills I’ve learned in previous years – reporting, writing, photo, video and social media. The Press of AC also has podcasts, but I haven’t gotten involved in that yet.

What skill(s) have you learned at your job that you believe will help you or has helped you in the field you are in?
This may sound silly, especially considering I’m still pretty young and live in a digital world, but I’ve learned how to report using only my iPhone. I take photos and video, edit the video on my phone, upload the video to our server from my phone, and sometimes file my story via email. I live tweet photos and videos and can even live stream video from a service we use that connects directly to our website if it’s prepared ahead of time.

What is your biggest challenge at your job?
My biggest challenge at work is coming up with my own ideas for stories to cover. Since I’m on the breaking news desk, I do a lot of press release rewrites, but sometimes there are slow days, and it would nice to have something concrete to cover. I’m getting better at it, but it’s still a struggle.

How has Rowan’s journalism curriculum prepared you for this job?
Rowan’s journalism curriculum gave me a good understanding about journalism and how it works. It taught me how to write properly and that the AP Stylebook is your best friend. It gave me the necessary skills to get a job shortly after graduating, then accepted into grad school to learn more about video and broadcast journalism.

Has social media played a large role in your career so far? How has it helped/hurt you?
Social media has played a large role so far. Half of my job is making sure the website stays up to date with new content, posting to social media and driving people to our website. We have analytics websites, and it’s helped me truly understand people’s social media habits. People truly are active at 9 a.m.noon3 p.m. and 6 p.m. Those stats help me decide when to post important stories to social media, as well as send push alerts, to get the maximum audience we can.

Do you have any advice for aspiring journalists/journalism majors?
Say “yes” to everything, but don’t be afraid to say “no” either. This will allow you to try and learn new things that you might like, or not like.

Ask questions if you don’t understand something. If you don’t understand what you’re talking about, the reader/viewer won’t understand, either.

Get sleep and eat properly. This seems silly, but it really does affect you. Nobody wants to work with somebody who is hungry, cranky or tired.

Lastly, have fun! If you’re not having fun, you’ll hate your job. It’ll lead to burn out which may lead to illness, you not enjoying time out with friends or your life in general.

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